Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Don't cry over spilled Muscle Milk.

Customers of GNC will be sorry to hear the nutrition store will be leaving its space in the venerable Westwood Shopping Center on Westbard Avenue.

But nearby residents can be optimistic:  the 1500 square foot space is now available for lease.  Could the Westbard area finally get a real, sit-down family restaurant?

I grew up near the shopping center, and can tell you that it is one of the most stable strip malls in the DC area.  Tenants stay for the long haul, and their loyal customers keep coming back.  The last major upheaval was in the 80s-90s, when Farrell's, Crown Books and the hardware store all closed.

Farrell's was the only sit-down, family restaurant in the neighborhood.  Today, there is a bar (Bowlmor), a Chinese restaurant, and Yirasai Sushi along the Westbard commercial strip.

Any smart, enterprising restauranteur - with a high-quality product - could make a lot of money opening a real restaurant in the GNC space.  There is a whole new wave of young families in the surrounding neighborhood, who don't have anyplace to spend their money right now.

The Shops at Sumner Place has Praline - why not a real, white (or checkered?) tablecloth restaurant for the Westbard area?  It's long overdue.

Of course, the spot would also make a great 20816 U.S. Post Office, with ample parking and drive-along sidewalk frontage, for drive-up drop boxes.  That's assuming the USPS would forgo 500 square feet of the 2000' it claims to currently be seeking in 20816.

The options are few, as the only other space currently available is an ample nearly-3000 square foot vacancy on the fourth floor of Westwood Cennter II.  That has plenty of free parking, too.

Can a nearly 30 year wait for a real restaurant on Westbard finally be near an end?  Stay tuned!

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